swim type 5: The Swinger

An experienced swimmer needing to fine tune a few things in their stroke

The Swinger

Profile:

The Swinger nearly always has good swimming experience over a long period of time and feels confident in the water. The key characteristic of the swinger compared to the Smooth type is that they have less body roll, meaning their arms tend to swing round the side of the body rather than travel over the top.

Over the years some bad habits may have crept in and their stroke is often in need of a tune up.

How To Spot One:

  • Often moving quickly
  • Lack of body roll
  • Fast stroke rate with lots of rhythm
  • Arms swing round side
  • High head position is common
  • Minimal leg kick
  • Commonly thumb first entry

Quick Facts:

  • Competent swimmer
  • Goes well in open water
  • High stroke rate with lots of rhythm
  • Arms tend to swing round the side
  • Likes to go fast all the time
  • Many elite swimmers and pro triathletes are Swingers
  • Swims from 1:50 to sub 1:00 per 100m

Personality:

Normally has a positive, happy go lucky outlook.

May resist change to their stroke for fear of taking a step backwards.

Swinger Common Characteristics:

  • A very competent swimmer who normally has a background in competitive swimming.
  • Lots of rhythm and timing in the stroke – plenty of oomph. As a result they tend to race very well in open water.
  • A lack of body rotation causes arms to swing around the side at high speed. The momentum of these swinging arms often carries them across the centre line at the front of the stroke creating a cross-over.
  • Leg kick is normally minimal – ideal for conserving energy during distance swimming and triathlon events.
  • Some degree of poor core control is often apparent with a pulsing action through the core as required by the butterfly stroke.
  • Head position often high, with eyes looking forwards, goggles close to the surface.
  • A hurried catch results in somewhat reduced feel for the water.
  • Swingers have often experienced a plateau in performance for several seasons no matter how much work they do in the pool.
  • A Swinger with an unrefined stroke often experiences shoulder injury.
  • Swingers often have a poor perception of their stroke technique as they have been criticised by swimming coaches over the years who prefer a Smoother style
  • Typical swimming speed is 1:45 to sub 1:00 per 100m.

David Davies

Olympic Silver (10K Beijing) and Bronze (1500m Athens) medalist David Davies is a classic swinger. We chatted to Dave at The 2014 Triathlon Show in London about his stroke and how coaches have tried to change it over the years to be longer and smoother but he only became slower as a result:

Stroke Correction Guides

If you are a Swinger, our full guide to improving your swimming includes detailed advice on improving your stroke, specific drills for your style and four full training sessions to follow specific to your stroke type. You’ll find the sessions challenging but great fun at the same time.

We supply each guide as a digital download straight to your computer – it’s easy to read and very pragmatic without any heavy theory. Download now, take a read and start improving your stroke in your next swim session! Find out more here.

Swim Smooth’s Swim types:

Swinger Stroke correction & Training Guide

Just the Ticket

Download our full stroke development and stroke training guide for the Bambino swim type

Areas To Work On:

  • Accepting that by developing key elements of the stroke it is possible to improve their swimming speed significantly.
  • Develop better body rotation and symmetry in the stroke.
  • Maintain the rhythmical nature of the stroke whilst working to improve stroke length.
  • Improving the catch phase of the stroke to give a better hold on the water.
  • Taking slightly longer over the catch – and not hurrying it – is key to improving.
  • An improved fingertip first (not thumb first) hand entry is key to catch development.
  • Developing a two beat kick is often very effective for Swingers racing distance or triathlon events.

Potential

Swingers are nearly always competent swimmers already performing at a high level in the water.

A radical overhaul of their stroke is not required.

However it is important for them to be open minded about making some stroke refinements.

Each refinement will chip away at their swim splits and have them swimming faster than ever.

The Classic Swinger – moving quickly through the water with a high head position and arms swinging around the side

Do You Know A Swinger?

Swingers travel quickly through the water with a relentless fast rhythm to their stroke. Their stroke may be quite asymmetrical (lopsided) depending how unrefined they are. Normally from a swimming background, they swim quickly but could do with a bit of a tune up to their stroke.

Our own stroke feels entirely normal to us, so it’s often much easier to recognise traits in others than ourselves. Give your Swinger a quick prompt in this direction and let us get to work assisting them in tuning up a few aspects of their stroke.